As I find myself entering a new chapter of my life, I have been spending a lot of time thinking about what’s important to me and how to balance work time, versus play time. A big element of that has been the way horses seem to be creeping their way back onto the scene. With a lot else going on I’ve been struggling to find time to keep up the blog posts so I’ve decided to simply share some of my ponderings with you all.
Topmost of the list this week is – what is it about horses? Why can I not escape them? I’ve even tried leaving the country a good few times and I just seem to end up working with them abroad too! You often hear people using the saying “Ah, well it’s in her blood you see.” By this I don’t think they mean you’ve inherited your passion. I think what they really mean is more of a literal thing, like it’s an incurable disease. Which would also explain the “she’s been bitten by the bug” saying.
Mr Frederick sure did love to run!
The morning of race day dawned with perfect clear blue skies and the most stunning drive up through Wales into the Brecon Beacons to find the quaint little village of Talybont-on-usk. The event organisers Trailevents had picked a great location here with all the facilities you could need all within easy walking distance. There was a small shop, cafe, 4 pubs, toilets in the village hall registration area and the campsite where we parked for a small fee of £5 also included a proper toilet block with hot showers – massive bonus!
The only thing marring this perfect morning was the return of the dreaded chronic nerves. I thought I had started to get them under control last weekend but they seemed to be back in full swing that morning. I’m putting it down to the race being over a much longer distance than my previous ones and only having ever run that distance once in training. I’m also beginning to learn, much to my own self denial, that I am quite a competitive soul so to just finish is not good enough for me, I have to do respectably well in my own eyes.
In a rather fine example of my superior prior planning skills the Sunday morning after my hilly Exmoor race saw me leaving the house at 6am for a nearly 3hr drive to the hills of Wales for my first mountain bike race! This was to be round 4 of the Welsh Gravity Enduro series at Affan forest parks’ Glyncorrwg mountain bike centre. Now I’m not going to lie I was pretty damn nervous about the whole thing, with no real idea what to expect having never even been to watch a mountain bike race and being pretty new to the sport overall. However one of the things I love most about mountain biking is the down to earth, friendly, outgoing people it attracts.Bringing all these people together in a shared love of the slightly crazy sport of hurtling down a muddy, rooty, rock covered, big hill as fast as possible sounded like it could make for a pretty awesome day out. So off I went…….
The dramatic scenery of the Exmoor national park coast certainly lived up to all the hype at the Endurancelife organised Coastal Trail series race on Saturday 9th April. It was the perfect opportunity for me to put my personal resolution NOT to get so stressed about it being a race into practice. Instead I wanted to enjoy this opportunity to run in a new place on a course chosen specifically to showcase the best that area has to offer. This race certainly did that with views so stunning it raised a new problem of trying to take it all in whilst keeping at least some focus on foot placement. The narrow little path hugging the cliff face that we were following didn’t leave much room for error!
How many times as a runner have you come across the incomprehension of non-runners upon announcing your intention to head out for a long run or intervals session. They screw their face up tight, frown and bark out WHY??? Or better yet come out with the cocky “Where’s the lion?” Coach Kevin Smith has the perfect response –
“People ask why I run. I say if you have to ask you will never understand. It is something only those select few know. Those who put themselves through pain but deep down know how good it feels.”